Update: Westchester Children’s Museum

There's lots happening this spring and summer. Here's what to look forward to.

April 27, 2015

Last week, we checked in with Julie Sootin, the development director at the Westchester Children’s Museum, to find out how far along the museum is — and what, if anything, is set to open in the coming months. Good news: There’s movement.

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What’s new this spring?
This May, the museum will reopen with expanded exhibits. “We are planning a phased opening with 4,000-square-feet in the summer of 2015 (up from 2,000 in 2014) going up to 6,000 square feet in the fall of 2015,” says Sootin.  Now that the building also has restrooms and heat, they plan to stay open indefinitely, although only a portion of the exhibits are in place. “We will strategically close off portions of the building as the construction progresses to minimize the impact on our visitors,” she adds.

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If we go in May, what will be there?
In addition to KEVA planks and the Build Your Own Rollercoaster exhibits introduced last year, the expanded museum will include a toddler zone, shadow and light play, a wind tunnel, sand play, maker spaces, a chalk wall, and rotating activity carts both inside the museum and on the boardwalk. Amazing!

 What’s left to build out?
“The 22,000-square-foot bathhouse has been empty for 50 years.  The county has restored the building shell and over time the museum will be investing over $6 million in infrastructure improvements to make the space useable (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.).  We have a solid and conservative business plan that demonstrates an enormous economic impact on the county once the full museum is completed,” she says.

 Sign me up. When can I go?
The museum will open on May 9, the day that Rye Playland opens. Check the website for exact hours, along with information about special events and programs:  www.discoverWCM.org. Admission this summer is “pay as you wish” to thank the community for all of its support.

Westchester Children’s Museum, Rye Playland, Rye

The Taco Project in Tarrytown

Take the kids to this fast (and reliably good) taco joint.

April 24, 2015

By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a mom and writer living in Northern Westchester.

I’m not a fan of fast food. For me, or my four and a half year old son. But, what I am a BIG fan of is healthy, affordable eats that we can gobble on the go, or linger over when, on rare occasion, he decides to sit still for a spell. And, if it’s got a little spice in it for me, with a mild option for him, all the better. Needless to say, with those ingredients for a good meal in mind, we are thrilled about the recent opening of The Taco Project on Main Street in Tarrytown.

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It’s an idea cooked up by New York City restauranteur Nick Mesce, originally from Yonkers, and his chef of Mexican and Peruvian decent. Together they set out to create a “family friendly eatery that offers high quality food at reasonable prices with quick service.” I would say they most certainly did. Just about every item on the menu is homemade and delicious; from the salsa, to the desserts at the finish line.

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The standout starter for me was the apple habanero salsa, a delightful concoction of diced apples and fresh tomatoes. It’s got a sensational sweetness to it, but it’s a bit too spicy for younger palettes. For kids, order up the house salsa or the chunky guacamole. Both are mild, and served with homemade blue and white corn chips, which are crisp and delicately dusted with coarse grains of salt.

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Moving on, the taco menu nearly blew my mind. Nine varieties to choose from, one more interesting and creative than the next. I’m always a sucker for a good fish taco so I started there. Beer-battered Atlantic Cod and red cabbage slaw came together in a locally-made soft corn tortilla for a taste and crunch fiesta like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was not to be outdone, however, by the sweet and zesty pork belly cooked in pineapple glaze, or the mole braised short rib which was mellow but offered a nice kick at the end. There’s also tempura rock shrimp, chimichurri skirt steak, and crumbled chorizo and crispy potatoes with guaca-salsa (think about it). Served two per order, this is a full lunchtime meal and fully affordable at about $7.

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The free-range Amish chicken taco is a good choice for kids. It’s cooked in chipotle, but is very mild. A crowd pleaser, for sure, along with the classic ground beef taco and the chicken and cheese quesadilla (or just cheese for my Mr. Fussy Pants). Burritos, inventive salads, and bowls (burritos without the tortillas) round out the grown-up—and adventurous kid—menu, and “baby burritos” can be stuffed with chicken or cheese or beef or beans or whatever tempts those tiny tummies.

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To wash it all down, sip on an Aqua Fresca, which is a homemade juice reminiscent of old world Mexican drinks. The hibiscus is bright red, refreshing, and similar to a light fruit punch, while the horchata goes down like liquid rice pudding. Says Mesche: “If you’re Mexican, it’s something your grandmother made for you.” Not too sugary, the drinks are flavored with natural ingredients and a dash of simple syrup.

For a sweet end to the meal, save room for the homemade churros, which are speckled with cinnamon sugar and paired with caramel and chocolate mole dipping sauces, also homemade. Divine. They can also be played with like a sword (not my idea).

It’s a feast for young eyes, too, as everything, from chips to churros, is served on these cute, little, paper-lined rectangular trays. The atmosphere is equally laid-back and café-like, and the vibe will spill out onto sidewalk tables with the warmer weather. Adult-only beverages should be on the menu by then, as well.

Excellent food, great prices, and it makes my kid happy. Done.

The Taco Project, 18 Main Street, Tarrytown; 914-909-4455

Celebrate Mom on the Hill at Ridge Hill on May 2nd

A Fashion Show, Samplings and Giveaways will make mom's day at this fun-filled family afternoon

April 23, 2015

Celebrate Mom this year at Westchester’s Favorite Family Shopping Destination, Ridge Hill! On May 2nd from 12pm-4pm, the center will be celebrating moms all afternoon long with an array of Mother’s Day activities – including giveaways and samples – for the entire family to enjoy.

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White House Black Market is partnering with other Ridge Hill retailers to host a Celebrate Mom Fashion Show at 1pm featuring fashions for all family members! Treat mom to some fashion and pampering at the event at Sephora where there will be make-up tutorials for contouring and brows taking place from 12pm-2pm.

If fitness and outdoor action is more your mom’s speed, you can’t miss the interactive paddle board demos at L.L. Bean and the personal training sessions at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

For the kids, there’s mother’s day card crafts with a seed packet giveaway to plant with mom at Whole Foods Market and LEGO Building with LEGOLAND Model Builders at LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

After you’ve worked up an appetite, there will be frozen yogurt samplings at Frannie’s Good Shop, pastry and coffee at Starbucks and even wine samplings at WineZetta. What else could mom want?!

And all of this for good cause. Ridge Hill is partnering with the Afya Foundation to raise money for their cause. The foundation collects and delivers critically needed surplus medical supplies for ongoing health crises worldwide. (They currently have a goal to deliver 10,000 birth kits to Ghana by Mother’s Day). Those who participate will receive a special Mother’s Day giveaway.

So, bring mom and the whole family for a fun-filled day to create Mother’s Day memories at Ridge Hill on May 2nd!

Westchester’s Ridge Hill, 1 Ridge Hill Blvd, Yonkers. 

 

Drive Through Starbucks

Did you know that there's one in Dobbs?

April 22, 2015

I can’t tell you the number of times I get stuck driving around after one of my kids fall asleep in the car. Rather than drive circles in my neighborhood, I tend to go “exploring,” picking a village and driving aimlessly around town. So I was thrilled to learn that there’s a Starbucks with a drive through off the Saw Mill in Dobbs Ferry. It’s become a destination if one of my kids fall asleep. I pull up, order my chai latte or shaken iced tea lemonade and off I go — all before anyone bats an eyelash. As far as I know, it’s the only one in the county. So whether you’re in Chappaqua or Bronxville, it’s a rare treat to head over for your favorite drink.

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Starbucks, 45 Stanley Avenue, Dobbs Ferry

An Online Farmer’s Market?!

Yes, please to an online service that delivers local produce (and artisanal products) to your door.

April 20, 2015

By David Soberman, an avid home cook who lives in southern Westchester with his wife and son. 

When I left New York City in 2013 to move to lower Westchester with my wife and young son, one of the things I hated to lose was easy access to the Union Square Greenmarket and the artisanal goods in Brooklyn. While I was pleasantly surprised with the  quality of the farmers markets in Westchester, I was very excited to find the Farmigo market delivery service to continue to expand my families’ palate.

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Farmigo is an online farmers market for anyone who doesn’t have the time to visit a local farmers market. It delivers weekly bounties of fresh, seasonal produce, cheeses, meats and other artisanal goods sourced from local farms and producers in Westchester, Hudson Valley, Brooklyn and beyond.

The food is all harvested and made to order, so it is super fresh – and buying from small farms supports sustainable practices and the local economy. Even better, Farmigo can act as a great fundraiser for your school or religious group because it donates 10% of the total sales will to your community every week!

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I recently set up a Farmigo community at my son’s school in New Rochelle to help the school fundraise while providing local food to the teachers and families at the school. It was simple to set up and has already generated over $500 of fundraising in just one month. Farmigo even makes larger boxes (like a traditional CSA – Community Supported Agriculture) of vegetables or entire meals for the family to simplify the shopping and cooking experience. Farmigo will provide local pick up conveniently once a week at your local public pickup or private community

Some of my favorite products include the whole wheat loaf, chevre cheese, swiss chard, blueberry-almond muffins, ginger dressing, and ground chicken among many others. Ordering couldn’t be easier – just sign up and head to http://www.farmigo.com to locate a public community near your town and start adding items to your basket. You have every week until Sunday, at midnight, to place your order. The next day, the farmers and producers harvest and pack your items, to be delivered every Wednesday. Updating your items is easy – you can choose to have standing weekly orders or place them on a week-to-week basis, and put your delivery on hold at any time. There are no commitments, order minimums, or delivery fees.

If you are interested in starting your own private, invite-only community at your children’s school, you can set it up via the Farmigo website or contact Ludovica Ferme (ludovica@farmigo.com) or call her at (617) 319 – 2388. She helped me set up my community at my son’s school and is very happy to help you set up your own community!

For your first order use the coupon code FARMIGO40 at checkout for a 40% discount!

Sponsored Post: Ethical Culture Nursery School in White Plains is a Hidden Gem

Don't miss their Open House on April 25 from 2:30-4pm

April 19, 2015

At Ethical Culture Nursery School, they believe in creating a safe and nurturing learning environment for students.  They strive to engage and challenge each child, while also teaching them about responsibility, compassion and resilience.

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Recognizing that each child is unique and develops at their own pace, they strive to teach children to become independent, self-confident and curious learners who can work and play well with others. Fostering each child’s development in all areas; social/emotional, cognitive and physical; is the common goal at Ethical Culture Nursery School.

DSCN2357With play and exploration, children learn about life through enriching, firsthand experience. Additionally, yoga, Science and Nature, Music, Fitness with My Gym, Early Literacy Programs and Afternoon Lunch clubs are offered.  Small class sizes, an amazing playground and a private garden on several acres of land, are added bonuses to the Ethical Culture community.

Ethical Culture Nursery School, truly a hidden gem, is located only minutes from the Hutch and 287. Stop by and uncover the best kept secret in Westchester!

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Please visit the Open House on Saturday, April 25th, from 2:30pm-4pm to meet the teachers and check out the playground! 

Ethical Culture Nursery School, 7 Saxon Woods Rd, White Plains. 

The MHA On the Move 5K Run/Walk and Fun Run is Sunday, May 3rd

A fun-filled family event to support the mental health services in our community

April 18, 2015

Here’s a great reason to get excited when your kids are up early on a weekend morning. Get your whole family moving and help raise awareness for Mental Health at the MHA On The Move 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Fun Run on Sunday, May 3rd!

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Supporting the Mental Health Association of Westchester, this event is a great excuse to teach your kids the importance of staying active and feeling good!  The MHA on the move 5K Run/Walk kicks off with check-in starting at 8am to 9:45am. The special 1-Mile Kids’ Race (ages 4 to 10) is complete with its own warm-up and medals for the top 3 girls and boys. It all takes place on Sunday, May 3, from 8am to noon at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights, NY. Parking is free. Check in 8am to 9:45am; Kids’ 1-Mile Race begins at 9am; 5K Run/Walk at 9:45am.

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Let your mental health flag fly and enjoy a great family-friendly day in support of mental health services in our communities. All registrants will receive a free t-shirt. The race is timed by the Taconic Road Runners with medals awarded in each age category as well as overall top male/female.

For more information and to register, visit www.mharunwalk.org

 

Sponsored Post: A WESTMED pediatricians group moves to Purchase Professional Park

Formerly known as Westchester Pediatrics of Hartsdale, 6 pediatricians now see patients at 3030 Westchester Avenue

April 16, 2015

WESTMED Medical Group, a Purchase-based multi-specialty medical practice, is excited to announce that the former Westchester Pediatrics of Hartsdale, a group of 6 board-certified pediatricians who joined WMG in August 2014, has moved to a new state-of-the-art facility.

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The pediatricians, who have served lower and central Westchester County since 1996, now have offices at 3030 Westchester Avenue, Purchase, at the newly named Purchase Professional Park. The complex offers a highly visible and convenient location at Exit 10 off of I-287, with access to major highways including I-95, I-684 and the Hutchinson River/Merritt Parkways.

WESTMED pediatricians provide personalized, comprehensive care for pediatric patients from birth to 21 years.  They follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for wellness visit schedules and immunizations, and all of the pediatricians are board certified.

As an additional convenience, the new location offers imaging and lab services.   Lab services open at 7:30 a.m.  X-ray opens at 8:00 a.m., and ultrasound opens at 7:30 a.m. There are also pediatric subspecialists available to patients within the practice setting.

For an appointment with Drs. Fredric Bomback, Daniel Cohen, Sara Kenamore, Jennifer Longobardi, Adrienne Rogers or Audra Schweitzer, please call (914) 607-6260.  For further information, please visit http://www.westmedgroup.com/Default.aspx.

WESTMED Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 3030 Westchester Ave, Purchase.

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WESTMED Medical Group is staffed by a team of 275 physicians dedicated to providing coordinated, efficient and the highest quality of patient care at its nine locations in central and lower Westchester County. The practice, known for its one-stop-shopping medical experience for patients, uses state-of-the-art systems and electronic medical records. WESTMED has medical offices in White Plains, Rye, Yonkers, Purchase, Scarsdale, Harrison and New Rochelle.  

Spring Walks: North County Trailway

This pretty path in Yorktown makes for the perfect warm day walk.

April 15, 2015

By Jennifer Garry, who blogs at Cuddles and Chaos, and covers Northern Westchester for Wee Westchester. 

Since the thermometer is finally moving in our favor and the last flurries of snow are behind us (hopefully!), it’s time to dive into outdoor activities and soak up some of the sun we missed during what felt like an extra-long winter.

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One of my favorite things to do with my girls when the weather is nice is pack some snacks and a couple of bottles of water and head to a portion of the North County Trailway in Yorktown. This fabulous, paved bike and pedestrian path runs from Mt. Pleasant to Somers and even stretches farther north into Putnam County (it’s 22 miles long). With ample tree coverage for shade, this path stays relatively cool even in the warmest months.

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We park at Underhill Ave. and Commerce St. (right across from the Trailside Café and Wishes Boutique) and head south. With plenty of benches to stop at for snacks and resting our legs (which happens often with my dreamy and dramatic lollygaggers), this trail is absolutely perfect for families. From bikers and rollerbladers, to joggers and people out walking their dogs, this trail is always full of friendly faces.

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Last week, my girls were thrilled to be out in the sunshine. There was lots of shadow stomping, yelling (outdoor voices are finally back!), and searching for fairies in the little streams and marshy areas alongside the trail. We’re still early in the season so there wasn’t much greenery just yet, but this spot is magical once there is. Aside from searching for fairies the girls like to keep their eyes out for sparkly “crystal” rocks as well as birds, frogs and other woodland animals and make up elaborate stories about the creatures that live there.

Learn more about the North County Trail, including maps and parking spots, here. We covered a different portion of the North County Trail by bike last fall.

Moms’ Night Out: Mixed Drinks & Mixing Paints

Paint Nite puts the adults in front of the canvas for a change.

April 13, 2015

By Nancy Fann-Im, a freelance writer and editor who blogs at www.trippyplaces.com.

When two of my friends and I were deciding what to do for an upcoming moms’ night out, we tossed around the usual ideas: dinner, drinks, movies. Then one of us suggested Paint Nite, an event that’s migrated from major cities into the burbs, where you have drinks at a local bar or restaurant and, well, paint. It seems like an odd combination at first, but everyone I know who’s done this has enjoyed themselves. Plus, these particular moms and I had recently finished a 10-week children’s art class with our 3-year-old boys. It seemed only fitting that now we should get a turn to wield the paintbrush!
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We signed up three weeks in advance for the Paint Nite taking place at Vega Mexican restaurant in Hartsdale; the event is often sold out, particularly on the weekends. There are locations all over Westchester, from Yonkers to Sleepy Hollow, so you can pick the restaurant nearest you, at $50 to $65 a person, depending on the location (but check out Groupon or LivingSocial for steep discounts first). With the admission price you get a canvas, paints, brushes, and step-by-step instructions from a local artist on how to replicate a painting. Drinks are extra.
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I was a bit nervous about the whole thing at first. I haven’t painted anything for years now, unless you count the walls of my house. But the drinks help to get your creative juices flowing, and pretty soon I was smearing and splattering with abandon. Two hours and three drinks later, we each had a masterpiece of our own, and it had been a fun, relaxing evening. The next morning, my kids couldn’t get over that I had painted this picture. It was kind of nice to have them oohing and aahing over my artwork for a change.
Paint Nite, various locations, check calendar for upcoming Paint Nite events throughout the area. 

April Happy List

PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO SEE AND WHAT TO DO THIS MONTH

April 12, 2015

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Thank goodness for warm, sunny days — and a full calendar to boot. Here are some things to do this month. And look at this lovely Wave Hill trail.

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The Picture House in Pelham is hosting a 10-day children’s film festival as part of the International Children’s Film Festival Friday, April 17 to Sunday, April 26th. Kids as young as 3-years-old will enjoy watching films (some short, some long) from all over the world. We’re most excited to see Mune, a French animated film (that’s gotten tons of buzz) about these adorable little creatures navigating the universe; it kicks off the festival at 6:30pm on April 17th. Shorts for Tots (geared for ages 3 to 6) are the perfect introduction to film for wee ones. Check schedule for specific showtimes and tickets.

We always look forward to the Emelin Theater’s roster of spring kid-friendly shows. First up, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites on Saturday, April 18th. See a larger than life caterpillar puppet transform into a butterfly — the kids always gasp at the metamorphoses. Great for even the youngest of theater-goers. Hurry and buy tickets — these events sell out.

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Celebrate spring at the Sheep to Shawl Festival at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19. Here, you’ll get to see how you turn wool into cloth using 18th-century techniques. Try your hand at dyeing wool and weaving, and enjoy a chuckle as you watch the Scottish border collies display their skill at sheep- and duck-herding. Storyteller Jonathan Kruk will tell lively tales, while kids are invited to try on period clothes for a photo. Food and ice cream on site; Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for kids ages 3 to 17.

Earth Day is April 19th. Celebrate by starting your vegetable garden in your backyard — or head to the Greenburgh Nature Center from 11am to 4pm for a special Earth Day celebration. You can learn some cool stuff, like how to gather fresh rainwater for your garden and how to compost. There will solar-powered cooking demonstrations, live music, a DIY seed garden station and food. Love that you can pre-order a com poster or rain barrel to get you started.

My son has become obsessed with finding crystals in the forest, so the Gen Hunt at Greenburgh Nature Center on April 26 at 11am caught my eye. Kids ages 5 to 7-years-old are invited on a Gem Hunt where they’ll hunt for gems and crystals in local rocks. All kids go home with a geode. $12 per person.

It’s a lovely month to visit Wave Hill Publc Garden in the Bronx — why not pair a tour of the garden with a stop at one of the weekend’s Family Art Project. On April 18th, kids will learn to “Connect the Aquatic Dots” in Wave Hill’s lily pond, while on the 24th, kids will explore “Buds, Buds, Buds” through art. All programs take place between 10am and 1pm.

Here’s an early bird note for a May event! Westchester’s Ridge Hill is hosting a family-friend Celebrate Mom on the Hill Event on May 2 from 12pm-4pm. The day will feature an array of Mother’s Day themed activities for the entire family to enjoy including a fashion show, samplings, giveaways, and more!

Kids Music Lessons At Home

Don't want to drive to another lesson? Have the teacher come to you.

April 10, 2015

By Nancy Fann-Im, a freelance writer and editor who blogs at trippyplaces.com.

When I started looking into piano lessons for my daughter, I had two major criteria: one, her teacher had to be experienced with teaching young children (my daughter was only four at the time); and two, the facility had to be fairly close to our home because my son, who was a toddler then, would be dragged to each lesson with us – and he was never happy in the car. I did an exhaustive search in my neighborhood and came up with a few promising music schools. Before I was able to decide on one, however, someone recommended that I look into Westchester Home Music, an agency that sets up children with professional music teachers who travel to your home.
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It sounded too good to be true. The teacher will come to us? All I have to do is open my door and let her in? I was sure the lessons would cost a fortune. But when I called and spoke with Autumn Mathisen-Edoff, who runs the business with her husband, Larry Edoff, I discovered that the pricing was comparable to the going rate at the schools I’d been looking into ($48 for half an hour). Autumn listened to me describe my dream piano teacher, took down my schedule, and then got back to me over email with two potential candidates. Both teachers were locally based, and their credentials and specialties were listed. In fact, all of the agency’s teachers have undergraduate or graduate degrees in music and have been vetted by Larry, who is a seasoned music teacher himself, having taught at Edgewood Elementary School in Scarsdale and Woodlands High School in Hartsdale before starting the agency almost a decade ago.
Westchester Home Music offers lessons in just about every instrument imaginable and hosts an annual spring recital at the Bronxville Women’s Club. For older kids, lessons in composition and songwriting are also available. My daughter has been taking piano for a year and a half now, and I’ve been thrilled with her teacher, who always arrives at our doorstep with a lovely, upbeat attitude and is a true genius at what she does. My daughter adores her and actually enjoys her lessons, which is a far cry from my own turbulent experience with piano as a child. I would actually gladly travel to this teacher’s house for lessons – the fact that she comes to ours instead is just an added bonus.
Call (914) 262-5474 or visit www.westchesterhomemusic.com for details.

The 411 on Seasonal Allergies

April 9, 2015

This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.  Although it may not feel like it, Spring is officially here, which means seasonal allergies aren’t too far behind. To prepare, we spoke with allergist Dr. Jennifer Camacho of Scarsdale Medical Group to get the facts on seasonal allergies, how to identify them, and how to help our kids who […]

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Stargazing

April 8, 2015

By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a mom and writer living in Northern Westchester. Perhaps the planetarium has been the last stop on your list of fun things to do with your kid. You’ve thought: He’s too young. Or, she won’t sit still. Well, neither will be the case at the planetarium at the Hudson River Museum […]

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Shopping H Mart

April 6, 2015

By Nancy Fann-Im, a freelance writer and editor who blogs at trippyplaces.com. When my husband and I first moved to Westchester almost a decade ago, we were disappointed by the lack of decent Asian supermarkets. He’s Korean-American and I’m Taiwanese-American, and we both grew up on Asian snacks and comfort foods. Then an H Mart […]

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The 3 Biggest Sleep Mistakes Parents Make

April 2, 2015

By Brooke Nalle, family sleep coach with Sleepy on Hudson.  When I gave birth to my daughter, following 2 years and 3 months of pretty challenging sleep with my son, her big brother, I looked down at her sweet face and big blue eyes and promised her (and me) that I would not make the […]

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